In the summer of 1950 three young couples--the Omer North, Clifford Johnson, and Clyde Chester families--started meeting at Phelps Grove Park for fellowship after Sunday services. They originally met for the purpose of “positive social interaction and family spiritual well-being.” After an enjoyable summer at the park when it became too cold to meet outdoors, the families started cooking a meal upstairs in the original preacher’s home. Some may remember the old brick house adjoining the South National building initially occupied in 1937 by C.E. MacGaughey. The initial group of 3 couples had grown by inviting new members to their dinners; no longer young married couples but growing families with children. Over time these young adults grew to 50 attendees, had begun to age as a group and searched for a new identity. Originally they were the “Young Marrieds” but that label was no longer appropriate. What should they call their group? Some proposed “Baldknobbers”, or “Silver Streaks.” But, they finally decided on “Young at Heart”—a label that has not only stuck for over half a century but clearly describes the make-up and spirit of this group today.
Today Joyce Jones organizes the monthly meetings in the Fireside Room at East Sunshine, typically on the third Thursday evening of the month. Joyce noted, “The principal change has come about by the aging of the original core group and their needs for support to deal with health issues, the experience of losing loved ones, and other things that come about as we grow older.” At their monthly meetings, they share a meal, enjoy an entertaining or informational program, and continue their emphasis on social interaction. There are members in the current group who have been involved for decades and relish the opportunity to exchange stories and memories with each other. “This activity for some is one of the few venues for seniors to have an opportunity to experience light-hearted activities that help lighten the burdens of health issues and aging believers' experience, if only for a short while. As a side benefit the relationships developed provide opportunities to serve and encourage each other in difficult times."
If it sounds like the group is focused internally, that isn’t true. Each year they build a money tree and use the proceeds to support Fair Haven Children’s Home. They love and appreciate each other, but also know this love needs to be shared with others. They are a wonderful expression of Sharing Jesus Up, In, and Out.
If you’re interested, and over age 50, contact Joyce Jones for more information. And, check the “Upcoming Events” section for dates.